The Fenian Narrative Corpus, c.600–c.2000: A Reassessment
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CitationSumner, Natasha D. E. 2015. The Fenian Narrative Corpus, c.600–c.2000: A Reassessment. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation traces the historical development of the Fenian narrative tradition—i.e. the vast body of story and song, some of it well over a millennium old, about the Gaelic hero, Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his roving warrior band. The first chapter traces the history of the tradition from the early medieval period up to Macpherson’s monumental publications. The nature of the literary manifestations of Fenian topics and such evidence as there is for an oral tradition prior to modern attestations are discussed. In a demonstration of the cultural relevance of the tradition, the ways in which socially and politically relevant meanings may have been woven into the extant texts are also explored. The focus then shifts in the second chapter to a consideration of the approaches taken to Fenian literature and lore in the Macphersonic period. Macpherson’s cultural milieu, motivations, and creative process are investigated, and his adaptations are situated in their national and international contexts. Their influence and sociopolitical import within a trans-Gaelic sphere in the century after their publication are then addressed. The third and final chapter examines the Fenian tradition in the post-Macphersonic period, with a particular focus on the sociopolitical significance of modern approaches to the Fenian tradition. This is the period of folklore collection, and of primary importance are the motivations and activities of folklore collectors in the Gaelic regions. Also explored are modern publications, adaptations, and overt politicizations of Fenian material, particularly in Ireland. The image of the Fenian tradition that emerges from this tripartite consideration is one of a dynamic and multifaceted body of story and song that has remained relevant over the centuries due to constant adaptation.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17467373
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